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Offense Responsible in Assisting Defense
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One of the hottest topics in the NFL right now is the sterling debut of the Philadelphia Eagles offense under rookie Head Coach Chip Kelley. Words like “high-octane” and “ultra-fast” have been used to describe it.
Obviously, the Chargers defense will have to rise to the occasion of facing an unusual offensive system, but the challenge of limiting Michael Vick and company isn’t limited just to the defense.
The Chargers offense bears some responsibility as well. More to the point, they have a responsibility to sustain long drives in order to afford the defense some rest.
“There’s no question that’s got to be part of what we do,” he said. “There’s no guarantee that you can do that, but we need some of those drives like we had in Arizona and like we had last week. Some of those long drives that burn time off the clock. But I tell you what’s really got to be important is if we get opportunities, we’ve got to score touchdowns when going against a team that’s like we’re playing this week. So there are a lot of things that we’ve got to do well in this game not independent of what they’re doing. But one of the things we have to do is a better job of sustained drives and finishing them. We did it in the first half, but we didn’t do a good enough job in the second half.”
Philip Rivers and the offense were on a roll for the first 35 minutes of the game, but as Whisenhunt said, they sputtered down the stretch. Four of the last five drives were three-and-out, and the other resulted in a pick-six. As a result, the pressure was placed on the defense, which is something the Chargers are determined not to have happen in Week 2. Whisenhunt saw enough on opening night to believe his team is more than capable of piecing together those long scoring drives he talks about.
“If I say nothing else, the fact that we were able to do it successfully against a good team is encouraging,” he said. The fact that we didn’t do it the whole game, that’s what we have to learn from and that’s our focus on getting better this week.”
In addition to long sustained drives, Whisenhunt came away encouraged by other aspects of his offense as well.
“Third down and in the red zone,” he answered when asked about the positives from Monday night’s game. “No question. I think to put 28 points up against the Texans, the way we did it, those first four drive , or the four scores, it speaks a lot about our team. I think we’ve been pretty good in the red zone in preseason. It’s nice to see that carryover. It was a good defense that we played. They’ve played together for a while. I think in points last year, they were one of the top defenses in the league. It’s disappointing that we didn’t finish a little better than we did, but I’m very pleased with the fact that we were in critical areas in the red zone which is important, especially against a good team like that, and third downs we did a nice job, early.”